MUNICH -- German registrations slumped by 38 percent in March to 215,119 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release from the KBA vehicle registration agency.
Tesla and Lexus were among brands whose sales fared relatively well. Lexus sales dropped by 2.8 percent and Tesla's volume was down 4.4 percent.
Germany's market leader, the VW brand saw sales fall 35 percent; No. 2 Mercedes fell 28 percent; No. 3 BMW lost 21 percent; No. 4 Audi's registrations declined by 37 percent and No. 5 Ford's sales fell by 50 percent.
The drop is the strongest monthly decline ever recorded, the VDIK importers association said.
Registrations fell massively in the second half of March when dealerships closed, VDIK President Reinhard Zirpel said in a news release.
"During this period, new registrations were around two thirds below the previous year. If the general conditions remain unchanged, the decline in April is therefore likely to be significantly higher than in March."
The VDIK withdrew its full-year forecast for 3.35 million new-car sales.
"Everything now depends on how long the crisis lasts and how long the necessary protective measures have to be maintained. Nobody knows that at present. That's why we will not make a new forecast until further notice," Zirpel said.
The slump in new-car sales in Europe's biggest market follows plunging registrations in other markets where government lockdowns have closed factories and dealerships.
Registrations fell 85 percent in Italy, by 72 percent in France and by 69 percent in Spain.